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NEWS | March 12, 2010

Fantasy Baseball Preview: Pitchers

By Airman 1st Class Patrick McKenna 316th Wing Public Affairs

This article is the third of a three part series analyzing each position's preseason sleepers. The positions discussed over the three weeks will be infielders, outfielders and pitchers.

This is the final part of the three part series discussing certain under the radar players you should keep in mind when you have your fantasy baseball drafts. Every person has their own strategy when it comes to drafting their respective team. Some try to grab an ace pitcher early. Some focus on hitting early and wait to grab pitching. I'm a big proponent of the latter and here's why: When it comes down to it, in this post steroid era of baseball, there are very few hitters capable of hitting 40 plus home runs, let alone 50. There's a sharp drop off in quality at positions like third base and shortstop and if you don't snag a good one early or get lucky and hit on a late round gem (see previous articles), you'll regret it. Pitching on the other hand, is the deepest it's been in years. Every season there are at least a few pitchers (last season-Zack Greinke, Chris Carpenter, Josh Johnson) who come out of nowhere to put up elite numbers. The pitchers that I'll discuss in this article most likely won't challenge for the Cy Young, but they are guys I like to vastly outperform their draft position this upcoming season.

Edwin Jackson (Arizona) - The once highly regarded Dodgers prospect is back in the National League after four seasons split between Tampa Bay and Detroit. Jackson is just 26-years-old and coming off back to back 10-plus-win seasons. Now that he's back in the N.L. West, which is without question the worst division in baseball, he has a chance to take it to the next level and should easily win 15 games.

Jeff Niemann (Tampa Bay) - Despite 2009 being his first season in the big leagues, Niemann led the Rays in wins and finished with very respectable 3.94 earned run average. The 6 foot 9 inch right-hander who finished fourth in the A.L. Rookie of the Year voting should build on last season's solid finish and be ready to lead the Rays again in wins.

Homer Bailey (Cincinnati) - Bailey has been a much heralded pitching prospect for years but each time he'd make a start or two with the Reds, he'd get absolutely shelled. So why go back to the well again and take this guy? Well, he did finish last season incredibly strong going 6-1 with a 1.70 ERA in his last nine starts and he won't turn 24 until a month into the season. Bailey has a much higher risk factor than the previous two pitchers mentioned, but he also has more natural talent than either one of them. Take him late and hope he finally turns the corner.

Brett Anderson (Oakland)
- Anderson burst onto the scene as a rookie last season going 11-11 despite having very little run support. This 22-year-old left-hander has all the tools to take it up a notch this season and win 15 plus games this season. He's not going to be an ace fantasy pitcher just yet, but he should be a very good number three pitcher and where he's being drafted, that's a bargain.